Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte appeared to endorse police killing drug suspects in the central city of Bacolod, in what a government official on Friday said was the president’s way of exaggerating to make a point.
During a business conference late Thursday, Duterte launched into a tirade against illegal drugs and at one point mentioned Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido, whom he recently appointed as deputy city director for operation in Bacolod.
“Bacolod is badly hit now and I placed Espenido there. The policeman they fear,” Duterte said, according to an official transcript of his speech.
“I said, ‘go there and you are free to kill everybody,’ … go start killing them,” Duterte said, adding he was willing to go to jail with the police colonel for combatting illegal drugs.
Thursday’s order to Espenido appeared to be the first time Duterte directly told a police officer to commit a crime. In September, during a public event, the 74-year-old president said he ordered the botched assassination attempt last year of a local politician he claimed was involved in drugs.
Duterte’s spokesmen later claimed he misspoke.
Full story: BenarNews
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